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Francesca Tripodi

Professor, UNC School of Information and Library Science; Senior Faculty Researcher, Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life

Francesca Tripodi




(919) 962-8366
Francesca Tripodi


Social media, political partisanship, and democratic participation, particularly how Google and Wikipedia are manipulated for political gains. Patterns of gender inequality on Wikipedia.


PhD (Sociology), University of Virginia
MA (Sociology), University of Virginia
MA (Communication, Culture, and Technology), Georgetown University
BA, University of Southern California, Annenberg School of Communication


Dr. Francesca Tripodi is a sociologist and information scholar whose research examines the relationship between search engines, participatory platforms, politics, and society. She is a Principal Investigator at the Center for Information Technology and Public Life (CITAP) at UNC-Chapel Hill and an affiliate (former postdoctoral scholar) at Data & Society Research Institute. She has twice testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (April 10, 2019 and July 16, 2019), to explain how relevance is gamed to drive ideologically based queries and spread conspiratorial logic.  In addition to her research on search engines, Dr. Tripodi’s work documents how race and gender impact perceived notability – highlighting that cis-gender women are nearly twice as likely to be considered non-notable subjects than their cis-male peers. Along with her Co-PIs at MIT and Stanford, Dr. Tripodi received a National Science Foundation Accelerator Award in 2021 to study how people find information and build tools to enhance and enable search literacy.

Dr. Tripodi’s research is frequently captured by the mainstream press.  In December 2023, Dr. Tripodi was a featured guest on an episode of Meet the Press to discuss the dangers of online education tools like PragerU. Her work has also been highlighted on All Things Considered (NPR), the Financial Times, the Associated Press, and is the subject of her own contributions to Wired, Slate, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.  In addition to these featured segments, Dr. Tripodi’s research is regularly cited by esteemed publications like The Washington Post, The New York Times, TIME, The Columbia Journalism Review, The Guardian, and The Nieman Journalism Lab. In recognition of her impact, Dr. Tripodi received the Award for Impact and Excellence in 2023 from the Center for the Informed Public at the University of Washington.


University of Virginia’s Provost Office and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Fellowship (2016/2017)
Digital Humanities Fellowship, University of Virginia (2016)
Innovative Efforts Award (IDEA) “Celebrating Academic Bravery- Filling the Bowl with Hope and Understanding” – Office of Access & Inclusion – James Madison University
Finalist in 3MT competition at University of Virginia (2014)
1st Place –Huskey Research Exhibition (2014)
University of Virginia All-University Graduate Teaching Assistant Award – Media Studies (2012-2013)


July 16, 2019 – Google and Censorship through Search Engine

April 10, 2019 – Technological Censorship and Public Discourse

“The Consequences of Misinformation” – SSRC Symposium

“Searching for Alternative Facts” – Laboratory for Social Machines

“News Meets Community: Perspectives from the US” – panel at News Impact Summit

“The Silencing Problem in Participatory Media Environments” – Center for Comparative Research – Yale University

Tripodi, Francesca (under contract) Based on research into the ways search processes are gamed to maximize exposure and drive ideologically based queries. Yale University Press.

Tripodi, Francesca and Andrea Press (forthcoming) Media Ready Feminism and Everyday Sexism State University of New York Press.

Tripodi, Francesca. 2018. Searching for Alternative Facts: Analyzing Scriptural Inference in Conservative News PracticesData & Society Research Institute.

Tripodi, Francesca. 2017. “Fifty Shades of Consent?” Feminist Media Studies.

Tripodi, Francesca. 2017. “Yakking about college life: Examining the role of anonymous forums on community identity formation” in Tressie McMillan Cottom, Jessie Daniels, and Karen Gregory (eds.) Digital Sociologies. Policy Press.


Dr. Tripodi discusses the ins and outs of how search engine algorithms work, how media manipulators game the results, and how our own perceptions and biases shape our results before we even open the search bar in this episode of CITAP’s podcast, Does Not Compute